Yesterday Frank would have been 44 years old yesterday , but fate decided different for this great Belgian cyclist in 2009 while on holiday in Africa. His turbulent life style came to an end in a lonely hotel room away from fans and family..What a waste of such young life and a tragedy still burned in to my memory. The Classic specialist (and in some corners called the new Eddy Merckx) won big races, had a flair in doing so, attacked from the front and was loved by all in Belgium due to his approachable character and talent. The lad from Ploegsteert ( a village in the Walloon Province of Henegouwen near the Flemish border of west Flanders) started his sport career in athletics and started competitive cycling in 1989 with winning a race in Brakel with the U16’s (nieuwelingen). The rest is history when Frank became a pro with Lotto in 1994 and his most successful time was with the then known Mapei-Quickstep 1995-1998 and Cofidis 1999-2000. He was adored and as young rider achieved massive contracts and wages who maybe was his downfall eventually as fame, money and the sudden hero status was to much to handle for Frank and some cracks start to appear in his life. Depression and drug addiction came to the foreground, turbulent behavior, broken marriage and suicide attempts, he lost control of his star status and never was the same man again after. I met him in 2004 or 2005 during a race near Wevelgem as he was supporting the local team Decock-New Heebra (ex TOTN competitors) who became the first guest team for the project in 2008 and my memory of Frank was a jovial friendly lad, and this is the memory I want to keep in my mind. His depression and addictions finally made him another person, not helped by the media at the time, as they chewed and then spitted out hateful reports, something that didn’t help his state of mind. The mind of a racer is very vulnerable and need care, without it anyone can fall in a trap of doom and sorrow. May you Rest in Peace Frank and thanks for the joys you have given us. Feature photo from David Stockman and photo below of Pol Demeyere Pomer , others taken from Frank’s social media pages. Palmares taken from Wikipedia

Vuelta a España

Points classification (1999)
2 individual stages (1999)

Stage races

Paris–Nice (1998)
Tour de Luxembourg (1997)
Tour de Wallonie (1998)
Tour of Austria (1996)

One-day races and Classics

Liège–Bastogne–Liège (1999)
Gent–Wevelgem (1998)
GP Ouest-France (1996)
Omloop het Volk (1999)
Paris-Brussels (1995)
Scheldeprijs (1996)